Ark. legislator proposes 'bathroom bill' after other legislator withdraws previous bill

Governor reaffirms position on proposed "bathroom bill"

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Just days after Senator Greg Standridge (R-Russellville) said he would withdraw his "bathroom bill," Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) has introduced legislation that seeks to define who can and cannot use a bathroom.

Senate Bill 774, the "Arkansas Physical Privacy and Safety Act," is proposing that any public bathroom that is in a government building that has multiple stalls can only be used by people of one designated sex. The bill said it would "protect all persons" in public schools, colleges, and government buildings.

Collins-Smith's bill says that person's sex would be determined by the sex listed on their birth certificate. On Thursday, a bill was filed that would prevent amending birth certificates in Arkansas to change the sex listed. Currently, Arkansas law states a person who has legally changed their name and completed gender assignment surgery can amend their birth certificate to reflect their gender.

According to proposed legislation, this mean that transgender people who are still transitioning or have yet to change their birth certificate will have to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender they were assigned at birth in any government building.

The bill also states that it would "maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other facilities where people may be in various states of undress in the presence of others."

In a press release, Collins-Smith said the proposed bill protects the privacy, dignity, and well-being of all Arkansans.

"No child should have to worry that their school might change its policy to force them to shower or undress in front of a member of the opposite sex as has been the case around the country," Collins-Smith claimed.

She said the bills sets a baseline for privacy across the state and would shield public schools from lawsuits by organizations "seeking to impose their anti-privacy agenda on our children."

Governor Asa Hutchinson has maintained that he doesn't see a need for introducing a "bathroom bill" law in Arkansas.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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